Militancy charges may complicate US efforts for Afridi’s release | Pakistan Today

Militancy charges may complicate US efforts for Afridi’s release

The revelation that Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi was sentenced on militancy-related charges, and not the basis of his links with CIA, may undermine Washington’s efforts to press Islamabad for his release, American media reports said Wednesday.
The media commentaries came as a US senator said he would move legislations to stop all of Washington’s assistance for Pakistan over sentencing of Dr Afridi, who worked for CIA in tracing whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, before the al Qaeda chief was killed in an American commando raid on his Abbottabad hideout last year. The long sentencing by a tribal Pakistani court has drawn stinging criticism from both the Capitol Hill and the Obama administration, who both say Afridi did not work against Pakistan but only helped the US against al Qaeda, which is a threat to both Pakistan and the United States.
“The judgment — even if it is a tool to mask accusations regarding his CIA work — could undermine efforts in Washington to press Islamabad for Afridi’s release,” FOX News channel remarked. According to the channel, the judgment was made public just hours after Sen Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky announced a bill to strip Pakistan of all US aid until Afridi is released to the United States.
The document, which began to circulate to international media overnight, claims Dr Shakil Afridi was working with the “defunct” militant group Lashkar-e-Islam. It alleged he provided “financial assistance” to the group as well as “medical assistance” to its “militant commanders” while working at a hospital, the channel said. The document, though, appears to raise more questions than it answers. US officials consistently have given no indication that Afridi was jailed for anything other than his work with the CIA. Pakistani officials likewise did little to knock that narrative down ever since Afridi was taken into custody last year, and released the document detailing Afridi’s alleged militant ties only after US lawmakers threatened retaliation, the channel observed.
Meanwhile, Senator Paul said he would introduce a pair of bills next week to address Afridi’s plight. One would strip Pakistan, which received $2.1 billion from the US for the current fiscal year, of all foreign aid until Afridi’s 33-year sentence is overturned and he’s allowed to leave the country; the other bill would grant Afridi US citizenship. The measures would go beyond the vote by a Senate panel last week to strip Pakistan of $33 million in aid.
“Pakistan must understand that they are choosing the wrong side. They accuse Dr Afridi of working against Pakistan, but he was simply helping the US capture the head of Al Qaeda. Surely Pakistan is not linking their interests with those of an international terrorist organization,” Paul said in a statement.
Reiterating the Obama Administration’s position on the issue, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.
“We certainly believe and know that anyone who assisted the United States in the effort to bring Usama bin Laden to justice was working against al Qaeda, but not Pakistan.” Writing in Washington Post, meanwhile, a known security analyst David Ignatius noted that the CIA’s vaccination gambit – led by Dr Afridi to take DNA samples of Osama bin Laden – put at risk the integrity of public health programs in Pakistan and around the globe. “It also added to the dangers facing nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in a world that’s increasingly hostile to US aid organizations,” the analyst wrote.



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6 Comments

  1. Anon said:

    Worldwide, this case earns negative goodwill and image for Pakistan …

    Because OBL has one identity, and one identity only in the civilized society of the world …

  2. Khalid Pathan said:

    Tribal court releasing the charges on which Dr. Afridi was charged seems to be a fabrication and an after thought. If he was involved with banned organizations then why was he tolerated by the agencies for so long.

    • Anon said:

      They call it a court and those things are judges. Displayed next to their right are called Government and officials. They all belong to Sir …

  3. KAMRAN said:

    He will be released. What America wants, America gets.

    • aryanazlam said:

      Strange. he is Pakistani national but is most loved by American Govt. Clearly he was working for Americans while our agencies were sleeping.

  4. Aziz Khan Niazi said:

    The point to think from whatsoever judgement the court given is that if there are allegations of his working with militants and America is getting so much pain over his sentence , then all the militancy and insurgency been observed across the country might be created and supported by Americans too 😛 for destabilizing our beloved homeland.

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